Communication is everything.

Let me repeat… COMMUNICATION IS EVERYTHING.

Not just in business, but in life.

Communication is what lets us connect. It’s the source of all progress. Heck, communication is what makes us human.

But not all communicators, or communication styles, are created equal.

In many cases, communication is the skill that separates the massively successful from the rest of the pack.

As a business owner, an entrepreneur, and a public persona, communication is absolutely integral to my livelihood.

I’m constantly striving to connect with people on a deeper, more meaningful level.

It’s something I want to get better and better at, but it doesn’t happen over night, and it definitely doesn’t happen alone.

Leveraging the advice of some brilliant communicators and entrepreneurs, here are 3 communication experiments I tried in 2016:

 

1) More Stories

Stories are how we make sense of the world. They are the most effective way for us to communicate a message that actually resonates.

One of the ways I improved my storytelling in 2016 was to dig deep into Don Miller’s teachings in StoryBrand. I put a special focus on making intentional use of the 7 components of an effective story.

Another thing I did was actively practising storytelling to discover what works.

For example, one story I used in a BIG presentation this year was a bit ‘edgy’, so I first shared it with some mastermind partners. This gave me a chance to see real reactions, to observe what worked and what didn’t.

I also practised storytelling by sharing stories on Facebook… particularly about funny situations with my kids. I experimented with how details can bring a story to life and how timing can make it more effective. I watched comedians to emulate their performance tactics.

The key thing I discovered is that you have to LOOK for stories to tell.

This could mean stories of your customers (success, sticking points, highs, lows), things that make you laugh, things that frustrate you.

And when you have a story, document it right away. Because the ‘juice’ of a story comes from the details, and you can best describe the details when the story is fresh.

 

2) More Range

Another communication experiment I tried was adding more range to my presentations.

Because I tend to be a high energy guy, but high energy all the time can be too much.

It’s like having the volume on full blast all the time.

So I’ve been working hard to identify when high energy is good and when I need to intentionally tone it down and provide more range.

This means incorporating a mix of high energy, soft energy, happy stories, sad stories, practical content, inspirational content; it’s the mix that creates the connection.

For example, when I spoke to over 4000 entrepreneurs in Brazil this year, I got the crowd hyped up by starting my presentation with the clip of an iconic moment in Brazilian football history.

As soon as the hype died down, I transitioned into a softer reflective exercise with the lights dimmed to provide contrast.

In 2016 I was reminded of the immense importance of communicating in a way that appeals to both the head and the heart.

 

3) Focusing on the ‘First and Last’

The final communication experiment I tried was something I learned from communication coach Victoria Labalme.

The tactic is what Victoria calls ‘first and last’ – making a special effort to start and end strong in all of your communications.

Think of your webinars, live presentations, marketing campaigns – or even a night when you’re hosting guests – as a timeline.

Like a good book or movie, that timeline should be punctuated with a compelling beginning and a satisfying or provocative ending.

Everything in between matters, but no where near as much as how you start and finish.

So in my presentations, I became very conscious of involving or engaging people early with high energy, questions, and special exercises.

I also became very intentional about how I’d end presentations. I always wanted to be clear about providing next steps and including some element that pulled everything together.

When I spoke in Hungary, that element was a story. When I spoke in Brazil, it was a song. At Jeff Walker’s PLF event, it was a surprise punchline.

Did I nail it every time? Definitely not.

But did I get better? Yes.

And did I connect with people in a more emotional way? I like to think so.

Some things came naturally. Others I still need a lot of work on.

But the key for you and I to realize is just how important not only WHAT we say, but HOW we say it really is.

And the more intentional you can be about HOW you share your ideas, the more effective you will be.


 

  • Brittany Byrd

    Thank you for sharing Stu!!!! I’ve printed this off to use as a reference, and am also going to look up StoryBrand!

  • Anand

    Very Insightful !! 🙂

  • Jeff Cooper

    Nice article. BTW, I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I tell each other, “We don’t have to get it right, we just have to get it going” – after hearing you say that at LaunchCon. Best to you and your family. Happy New Years!

  • Love how you streamlined these into so memorable and actionable! #willdo Thank you 🙂

  • Carlos Uscategui

    Wow!!! It was the biggest group of communication trues that I’ve heard this year!! 🙂 🙂 tks a lot stu 😃👍👍 happy new year from Brazil

  • Linda Christensen

    excellent…thank you!!

  • Sarah Mann

    This article was clear and concise! Even my crazy art brain that gets distracted easily understood. You are really honing in your communication skills! I learned how important it was to communicate through marriage first but it’s just so valuable across the board and especially in business relationships. 😉 Thanks for the article Stu!

  • Karen Ray

    Stu, thanks for the reminder of how important stories are as our common human element.

  • Bob Nolley

    Great stuff, Stu! In the past I have really focused on making sure I covered the “range” which has become almost a second nature…but I do need to take a look at the first and the last. This is so much more than “telling them what you are going to tell them” then “reminding them that you told them”.

  • Stu, you’re the best. PERIOD. !!!!

  • This is great. I never thought of communication in this way before but it makes so much sense. Thanks!!!!

  • Hayley Weatherburn

    Thanks for this, communication is a massive key to a good relationship. No matter what type of relationship…. and if you look at many dramatic story lines it’s all about miscommunication… people hearing only part of the story and making wrong assumptions.
    When people don’t communicate and keep everything bottled inside it causes problems. (Think depression, I also believe that cancers are negative emotions bottled inside from not being brace enough to be themselves).

    Thanks for your 3 points 🙂

  • Marco Ciofetta

    Thank you Stu for sharing so meaningful ad actionable principles in a key area

  • I totally agree with your three points. Powerful stories are gold. Using a pause or a low voice in contrast to your standard presentation will instantly draw people in. Beginning well is key to grabbing your audiences’ attention, while a good close is a key place for a call to action. Given this, I have a question for you. Do you have recommendations of someone that does a good webinar? I’ve heard quite a few, and most are terrible after a few minutes. One of the better ones was Michael Hyatt’s BYE program. The content was great, but I noticed that Michael practically shouted the whole 90 minutes. It seems like a tone/pitch/rate change would be helpful. Any suggestions for honing the craft?

  • Sherry Reese

    Thank you Stu! Thanks for pointing out that there are stories . . . and then there are stories. It is so helpful for you to share the specifics on how to consciously work at making our stories effective.

  • Love it!

  • 3 great lessons on communication Stu. I attended Ken Davis’s SCORRE Conference on communication and found it to be transformative in how I approach an audience.

  • deena braun

    First time viewer … Great info. Will look over all your material now.

  • Sarah Haykel

    Great Stu, I am learning SO MUCH FROM THIS and I just LOVE YOU and AMY TOO! 🙂

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